Stew Art Series (S2): Fans Conduct Umphrey's McGee

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What would you do if you could control a band’s live show?

Would you tell them to play your favorite songs note for note, or would you request a fresh improvisation on the spot?

Well, if you’re an Umphrey’s McGee fan, you’ll have the chance to be a part of a very interesting concert experience that gives you “control” over a show.

During Umphrey’s McGree current tour on select dates they’ll be inviting fans to participate in an all-new Stew Art Series (aka, “S2“) – “an interactive fan experience where audience members “conduct” the band’s live improvisations.”

When I saw Umphrey’s McGee at Summer Camp last year I was impressed at their fusion of rock, jazz, soul, and especially their improvisation style that apparent involves the band members sending signals to each other as cues for the next improvisational move.

So it makes perfect sense that they would embark on such “a crowd-sourced improvisation experiment,” in which all the music performed by the group on stage will be entirely directed by S2 audience members. 

Since I have yet to experience an S2 event, I’ll share with you what has been explained to me via the initial press release thus far:

…The inaugural S2 at Milwaukee’s Eagles Ballroom was received with overwhelming enthusiasm and to rave reviews. The sold-out crowd of 50 fans submitted their ideas by texting descriptive words, phrases, and pop culture references (pretty much whatever came to mind), to the Umphrey’s Mozes mobile interface. 

The suggestions were then filtered by the band’s long time Sound Caresser Kevin Browning and projected on a screen for the band to digest and turn into the next phase of the jam.  The band’s music varied stylistically with suggestions ranging from “an afternoon bus ride in Jamaica” to “drinking pina coladas…in a hurricane”. 

Here’s one fan’s reaction so far after the Milwaukee show. “S2 was the coolest thing I have ever been a part of. It’s always been a dream of mine to meet the band, and the opportunity to participate in leading the Jam for the band was a dream come true as well.”

It’s important to note that the band wants to make one thing very clear. “S2 shows are TOTALLY separate events than each concert date and will be sold as a separate ticket.” 

They also explain that “if you get a ticket to S2 that does not get you into the show later that night (and vice versa).”

“The S2 experiment is just that, an experiment,” says Keyboardist Joel Cummins. “The improvisational elements of our show have always been one of our favorite parts about playing together – and we think the audience feels that way, too. That’s our inspiration for the S2 series. It’s also a great way to stay on top of our chops.”

Some other key points to note:

  •  S2 events take place in the early evening before the respective show start times.
  •  S2 events also include a Q&A session for fans to ask about what they’re witnessing.
  •  The ticket will also include a custom laminate that will be different for each S2 event.
  •  Every attendee will receive an autographed CD of the Stew Art Series they attend – minutes after the event   has concluded.
  • Prices and ages vary from show to show – which should last one hour (with Q&A).

But I wonder…?

Why the separation between the concert and the S2 event?  

Is the separation a creative way to make each pre-concert unique and maximize monetarily on the standard concert ticket price?

If I was going to these S2 events, I would be a bit disappointed when it’s over because if I didn’t have tickets and thus couldn’t go to the show afterwards.

Even though, it looks like an innovative experiment that’s breaking new ground in the concert experience, I wonder why they aren’t doing it during the actual concert?

Why would you waste such a great opportunity for fan interaction before the actual concert? 

Is this just a test-run to see how they can incorporate it into the live show?

If it is a test, why not just let it rip and give S2 a full fan test during the show?

Here’s  list of shows for the fall tour so far.


Umphrey’s offers their next S2 event in D.C. – during a two night run at the 9:30 Club.  Details are as follows:

Umphrey’s McGee S2
Saturday, November 21
@ 4:00 PM (doors at 3:30 PM)
9:30 Club

815 V Street, Washington D.C.
Tickets:  $99.00

If you’re planning to go to any of these shows, let us know how the S event and the regular concert goes for you.  

October 21 Knitting Factory Spokane WA
October 22 Showbox Seattle WA
October 23 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
October 24 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR*** [S2 show that day]
October 25 Eureka Theatre Eureka CA
October 27 Crystal Bay Club Crystal Bay NV
October 28 McNears Mystic Theatre Petaluma CA
October 29 House of Blues West Hollywood CA
October 30-31 Las Tortugas – Dance of the Dead IV Groveland (Yosemite) CA
November 11 The Opera House Toronto, Canada
November 12-14 Higher Ground Ballroom South Burlington VT
November 15 Port City Music Hall Portland ME
November 17 Northern Lights Clifton Park NY
November 18 Water Street Music Hall Rochester NY
November 19 Mr. Small’s Theatre Millvale PA
November 20-21 9:30 Club Washington D.C.
December 10-14 Caribbean Holidaze Runaway Bay
December 29 Vic Theatre Chicago IL
December 30-31 Aragon Ballroom Chicago IL
March 21-23 Jam in the ‘Dam, The Melkweg Amsterdam

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Saul Williams Spares A Penny: My Eternal Afterthought

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That video above is evidence that something eternal happened last night at the Saul Williams show.

It was a case of my brain processing one thing while my heart processed another.

During what I believe was the song “A Penny for a Thought”  I misunderstood the lyrics in a way that surprisingly served my soul and comforted my mind and heart.

It was an unusual show in that the energy of Williams wasn’t quite at his normal level, which is still pretty intense compared to most artists.

That said, I had a hard time finding an emotional entry point into the show. 

But then, towards the end of the show, he played what I believe was “A Penny for a Thought,” but I’m still not sure. 

In any case, there was a verse that caught my ear as Williams kept repeating it:  “Even death is a part of life…Even death is a part of life..”

And each time he repeated that verse the doorway to the emotional entry point I was looking for opened wider and wider.

So I stepped in.

And then it hit me. 

For the last three days, my wife and I have been mourning the death of her Uncle John who died last Thursday after his battle with brain cancer.

One of the reasons it’s been hard for me is because I got to know Uncle John’s love for live music earlier this year when I interviewed him for Live Fix about meeting Kid Rock backstage.

And naturally, that conversation and John’s death have been on my mind and heart in some pretty heavy and profound ways.

So during the Saul Williams concert I believe something eternal happened because this morning as I was writing this post I looked up the lyrics to “A Penny For A Thought” and realized that the actual lyrics were “Seven mountains higher that the valley of death/Seven dimensions deeper than the dimensions of breath..”

Now, I’m pretty sure I heard Williams sing “…even death is a part of life..”

But what I think was eternal and even spiritual about last night was that, for whatever reason, I heard what I needed to hear so that I would find some level of comfort and clarity as I grieve and process John’s death.

Whether I misheard the lyrics or not, what happened last night my friends was an eternal aspect of live music. 

And I think it was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve had at a concert in recent memory.  I didn’t plan on having it.  I just happened. 

Writing this post makes the whole experience even feel predestined or preordained in a way. 

It was as if God knew I needed to hear Saul Williams croon those words right into my heart.

So, as I mention in the video,  I encourage you to take time to listen for moments like I had last night when you go to your next show.

Have you ever had an eternal or “misheard” moment during a concert?

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Is SPINearth a Mobile Haven For Concertgoers?



I’ve asked you before about this topic.

And whether you agree with me or not, the use of mobile technology (tweeting, texting and cell phone videos) is a key part of today’s concertgoing experience. 

I know it played a pivotal role in how I saw and reviewed M.Ward‘s and Miike Snow ‘s live shows.

I’ll admit that it took me awhile to get used to it and to see how using mobile technology enhances the concert experience.

But eventually I did see how it could be used, among many things, to understand  psychologically and emotionally, why we love going to concerts.

I also believe that, if used correctly, mobile technology and certain applications can certainly enhance and help show us more about what goes on in our minds and bodies during our concert experiences.


That said, when I read this review of  SPIN Magazine’s newly released SPINearth iPhone app by Mike at Sound Citizen, I wondered  if SPINearth would benefit our concert experiences, like the other mobile technology that I’ve experimented with on Live Fix.

Here’s a snippet of Mike’s review:

For example, I just finished watching a video of Pearl Jam and Chris Cornell perform “Hunger Strike” from their Temple of the Dog days at a recent concert at Gibson Amphitheater. The video itself was jumpy as hell – to be expected from user-generated videos, I guess. There are also updates from the correspondents as they travel and other interesting features.

The other interesting feature about the SPINearth app, as Mike points out, is the community it’s connected to. I’ll be taking a closer look at (above photo) to get a better idea of how it’s serving live music fans. But in the meantime, I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think.  

Though I don’t own an iPhone (I’m a BlackBerry Storm guy at the moment), I’m sure many of you do, so I’d like to get your thoughts on mobile device concert app and the communities connected to it:

Have you used SPINearth?

Is the iPhone the best mobile device for concert fans? 

What apps/mobile devices do you use to enhance your concert experiences?

Coming up…

There’s another interesting iPhone app I want to talk with you about that will have a big impact on concert culture, so stay tuned as we continue this mobile technology discussion on a future post.

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Rock and Roll Mama: ACL 2009 Recap



Hey, unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to visit Austin, TX for the ACL festival this year but thanks to Rock and Roll Mama Lindsay Reed Maines, being a vicarious live music fan was really easy for me.

Maines enjoyed Bon Iver’s set, among others like Kings of Leon, and I wonder if she noticed some Little Things, too.

That said, I strongly recommend being a vicarious live music fan with me and checking out her ACL wrap up to see live music through the eyes of a true rock and roll mama.

While I’m on the subject of moms and live rock, I’d like to know if you have any stories of moms and live music to share.

If you’re a mom who loves live music, I’d like to invite you to tell your concert story here on Live Fix.


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Styx to Sigur Ros: Two Amazing Concert Stories

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What if your first concert was too amazing, memorable and unforgettable?

Are you then set up for a chronic case of concertgoing disappointment for the rest of your life?


And what about experiencing concerts in unconventional venues?

What makes seeing a concert in an unconventional venue–like an art museum–so unique, special and transcendent?  

Styx to Sigur Ros: Two BlogWorld 2009 concert stories

This past week, I’ve wondered a lot about unconventional venues and first concert experience because, last weekend, I had two great conversations with fellow bloggers at BlogWorld Expo.  

These two live music fans, took me down two very interesting trails as we talked about the lifelong impact of amazing first concerts and transcendent concert experiences in unlikely venues.

One story was about seeing Styx during their 1983 “Kilroy Was Here” tour, and the other story was about seeing Icelandic rock band Sigur Ros perform at MoMA in New York. 

I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I did because they really got my mind going and brought up some interesting thoughts I hadn’t consider before.

Did Styx set the bar too high?

 The first concert story was told to me by Andrew Scorchine who is a film editor in California, the co-host to The Drill Down podcast/blog and also has the unique honor of being the top Digger on Andrew told me about his favorite, and very first, concert experience which was seeing Styx on their 1983 “Kilroy Was Here” tour.

With a nostalgic sigh and a chuckle, Andrew explained how the Styx concert set the live concert expectation bar so high that the next concert he went to was disappointing because it was just  a standard rock show (not a rock opera show like Kilroy) with only a simple stage and three guys playing instruments as usual. What stood out to me about Andrew’s story was how  every concert since has rarely compared to the Styx concert. 

Since Andrew’s story was so compelling, I did some quick research about the Styx tour and discovered an interesting fact that seem to contradict Andrew’s story and concert experience.

For those not familiar with Styx, “Kilroy Was Here” was an elaborate concept album and the tour was apparently deemed a financial disaster even though the album sold over 2 million copies.

Now that’s strange?

I also wondered why there was such a massive gap between the fan experience and the tour’s financial payoff? How is it that the tour didn’t “pay off” for the band as much as it did for Andrew’s emotional experience? Didn’t other Styx fans have the same concert experience as Andrew? And wouldn’t that fan buzz spread and lead more people to buy tickets to the show?

Did Styx spend too much on their elaborate live concert storytelling on the front end? And did that keep them from ending the tour in the black and reaping the financial rewards?


Either way, I’m sure that Andrew wasn’t the only fan who loved the show, so hopefully there are other Styx fans out there who can help answer some questions because I’d like get their perspectve too and look a bit more into the details of that tour to see what happened.  

Now on to the next fan story…

A Sensory Work of Art: Sigur Ros at MoMA

The other fan story shared with me was about how Icelandic rock band Sigur Ros transformed New York’s MoMA into an atmosphere of sonic euphoria.

Fellow live music fan and blogger, Kate Heffernan, told me how Sigur Ros filled MoMA with resounding waves of melodic guitars and ripples of sweet rhythms.  She explained how the collective beauty of having the band play while being surrounded by works of art in a non-traditional concert venue enhanced the band’s symphonic splendor. 

Hearing Kate’s story I revisited thoughts about our senses and how seeing a band perform in an unlikely venue engages more of our sensory system and makes the show more captivating.

I thought about Kate story from a sensory perspective and wondered: Was it the intense combination of sight and sound during the concert that allowed fans to visually absorb the artwork while letting the music flow in their ears, thus producing a heightened moment of sensual stimulation? 

What role did acoustics play?  Did MoMA have a unique sound set up that made ears perk up and relish in the pleasure of an unusual sonic surrounding that was different from the average concert venue?

I wasn’t there (I wish I was). But I’ve been to concerts in similar venues.  And after I watched the above video, I would have to say the intense sensory combination probably played a huge role in the pleasure factor of the show.  Because I know that the more senses you incorporate into any life experience the more likely the moment will be more intense, memorable and life-changing. 

It’s amazing to me that by looking at our concert experiences we can learn more about how our bodies are wired up.  And it’s no surprise that seeing Sigur Ros at MoMA would have been a great show were multiple senses were engaged.

The senses and venue location are just two variables that can make seeing a concert unique.

So what do you think?

Is it the band or the venue that fuels the power of the transcendent experience?  

What bands would you like to see play in unlikely places?

What are some of the most unlikely places where you’ve seen a concert? 

Have you had a experience like Andrew where your expectations were set so high by your first concert that future concerts just couldn’t ever compare?

Thanks again to Andrew and Kate for sharing their stories. 

Share your concert story here.

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Live Preview: Wilco (The Concert)


It’s time for Wilco tonight. 

It’s the second of two shows at UIC Pavilion in Chicago. 

And seeing as I’ve passed out at a Wilco concert before and their 5 night residency at the Riveria during their last tour was fantastic, this will be the kind of show that I’ll bring with me all types of  memories and emotional touch points and triggers. We’ll see how my Ink19 review turns out.

Here are a few things I’ll be thinking about during the show:

  • I always wonder what a band does when they play back-to-back shows. Do they compare them in their mind or are they like  baseball players (when I played I used the  24-hour rule and only focused on a win or lose for that day then I moved on). So does a band just block the previous show out of their mind so they can focus on the present show.
  • Do they apply what they learn from the last show to make the second show better?
  • What level of change does the band experience with their emotional energy from one show to the next?
  • Does Wilco think of ways to make each show unique?
  • This will be Wilco’s final show of their recent tour, so will there be anything special for Chicago fans?
  • What will seeing Wilco in an arena be like, especially when they start playing “Just a Kid,” a song they contributed to the SpongeBob SquarePants movie soundtrack.

Tribune’s Greg Kot had this to say about Sunday’s concert.

Did you see last night’s show

Are you going tonight?

Follow my tweets on @chriscatania


Photo by Colleen Catania

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Wingin’ It at Blog World Expo 2009




It’s been a busy last two days, and now that I’m sort of caught up on my sleep, I’d like to share some quick notes on the first couple days at BlogWorld 2009. Some of what I’m going to share with you are new topics for Live Fix.  And though I’m not focusing directly on live music these next three days, what I’m going to share with you is all about how blogging, social media tools and communities can impact our live  music experiences.

I’m really excited to share this and now that I’m done with the intros and disclaimers, it’s time to get to the goods!

Welcome to Las Vegas!

My flight to Las Vegas was full of excitement. I was also a bit nervous about what my first BlogWorld experience would be like.

So I did what I usually do to cope with nervousness.  I turned to my creativity and whipped out my moleskin since I couldn’t use my Blackberry during the flight. 

I hope you enjoy my quickly sketched representation as I gazed out from my window seat and pondered what it would be like once I got to Las Vegas.  I was also listening to Saul Williams’s Grippo which was a first for me on a plane. I suggest you do it to if you ever have the chance. The song is perfect for plane rides and listening to Grippo gave me some extra creative boost that I needed for my sketching.

What happens at BlogWorld Expo shouldn’t stay at BlogWorld Expo 

If you’re new to Blog World, here’s a quick explaination as far as I’ve come to understand it during my first conference.

For me it’s been a mixture of reconfirming , connecting and building new ideas.

And for the most part, BlogWorld is designed for two audiences: bloggers/social media folk and brands/marketing managers.   Bloggers are here to connect and learn with other bloggers and brands are here to learn how they can connect with consumers in social media.  I fall into both categories since I’m a “music” blogger who also helps guide brands and clients in connecting with their audiences in the socialsphere.

I’ve learned a lot new ways to connect with live music fans . And many of the social media  live concert experiments  I’ve done have been affirmed as I hear the panelist and speakers talk about how to build communities. (Stay tuned for new experiments in future posts.)

Mommy bloggers, news ideas, new friends.

Who are mommy bloggers? If you’re new to mommy bloggers, they are a niche of bloggers who are moms ( and who don’t like that “mommy” title) who blogging about all their family experiences. Mommy bloggers have exploded in numbers and have also greatly increased their influence growing influence which has gained the attention of big brands  who have courted several top mommy bloggers to blog about their brand and products.

Minds of Moms Summit: Win-Win Value Exchange

Minds of Moms Summit: Value Exchange/Win-Win


At Blog World there is a Mind of Moms summit going on where top mommy bloggers are speaking on key topics such as the recent FTC  ruling, ethics and value-exchange.  I attended two sessions  yesterday because for a while now I’ve been inspired and fascinated by their community and blogging styles. I’ve been working on social media projects involving mommy bloggers over the last several months and I hope to have some of them share some of their favorite live music experiences, too.

The mommy blogger sessions have been some the most inspiring sessions at Blogworld because these ladies are fully aware of the power and influence they have, and many of them are doing som pretty amazing things with that power and influence.  Check out my tweet stream for some of my live tweets during these sessions. And visit TypeAmom, Rock and Roll Mama, Resourceful Mommy, Skepchick to see what else these ladies are up to. 

 Chris Brogan

On the plane I finished up read Trust Agents by Chris Brogan. It’s a great book to get learn how you can use social media to build trust and influence. It has a lot of helpful tips and profiles of others who are using social media tools to revolutionize their communities and business.

Brogan was the keynote speaker last night. And it was the first time I’ve heard him speak. And I have to say that I was very impressed and I’ll say it again: INSPIRED. 

His Keynote speech was an excellent mix of humor and practical kick-in-the-ass motivation for social media folk who he says “need to get passed the playing stage”and start using social media to impact real change in the world and communities they’re a part of. 

Brogan asked not to write a post about him. But as you can see I did anyway because his speech was right in line with what I hope and plan to do with our Live Fix community. 

The most inspiring story he shared was about  how Facebook is being used to stop gang wars and connect with inner city kids using regular updates.  Now, those kind of stories pump me up because they get right at the heart of how social media can change the world on a real-world and everyday level. 

Like I mentioned, I hope to take what Chris encouraged all the bloggers to and use the knowledge to do the same with our Live Fix community.  Please hold me accountable and send me feedback because I’d love to hear your ideas on how we can make Live Fix better.

One of the great things about being at BlogWorld is meeting other bloggers and social media folk.  It was great talking with and inviting them to the Live Fix community, too.  And hopefully we’ll hear about some of their favorite live concert experiences.

Touring the Strip

Lastly, I took my first tour of the Las Vegas Strip last night as I ventured to the Blogworld party at the Bellagio.

 As you know, Las Vegas teems with sensuality, sex and over stimulation. And naturally, I was amazed to see everything blinking, pulsing and surging around me. Everything I saw conjured up a  bunch of ideas about connections to live music, so I’ll be exploring those stimulating ideas on a future post.

Coming up…

Once I get back to Chicago later today I’ll share with you what I learned at the Technorati  State of the Blogosphere and Death and Rebirth of Journalism panels.

Just because you’re not here at Blogworld doesn’t me you can’t join in. 

I invite you to join in at I live tweet during sessions @chriscatania

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Do We Get In The Way of a Great Show?





Though most of the show shifted in all the right ways and flowed to all the right places on the strength of Noonan’s smooth and soothing lyrical storytelling, a bit of tension arose between Noonan and fans who gazed upwards in awe at him from the front row. Getting a bit frustrated, he wasn’t finding the intimate connection he was hoping for with the crowd. So he took a risk and decided to call out fans for abusing their right to record the show on video cameras and cell phones.  He smiled at fans in the front row and said “I appreciate the desire, but the Internet doesn’t need any more videos of us Irish lads floating about, so can we sing a song for you without a lens between us.”


This is a snippet from my forthcoming review for Popmatters of Bell x1‘s recent Chicago concert at the Double Door. It shows how lead singer Paul Noonan was expressing his thoughts on technology getting in the way of our live concert experience. 

Capturing his comment wasn’t something I had planned for the Live Fix Experiment that I was doing to test out experiencing “How Your Heart Is Wired” live.

Nonetheless Noonan’s comment came just before he was about to play “Eve, the Apple of My Eye,” a hit song that fans certainly were expecting to hear, so his move could’ve ruined the moment for fans.

 Then the other thing that came up about how we use technology to record our concert experiences was this comment left by a Live Fix reader on my post about Why We Tweet and Text During concerts

 Here’s the part of his comment that got me thinking:

At concerts I have witnessed people waiting for hours on end to get that perfect spot in front of the stage only to proceed to position their device directly between themselves and the artist during the entire show. Tell me how they are experiencing it in such a way as to be able to accurately describe it to someone else? They are viewing it through a phone. Even a photographer puts the camera down and looks at the subject periodically. In their attempt to so generously share the show, (are you sure they are not just bragging?) the fans around me have radically altered my experience.

I really appreciate this fellow concert fan’s comment, because he made several great points that challenged my thoughts on how we enjoy concerts.

So I’m wondering now if overusing our love for recording our live music experiences is actually holding us back from having a more transcendent live concert experience?

What do you think?

Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.


Photo credit: Colleen Catania

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Are We One Step Closer To a FANS Concert Model?




It’s been a busy week for stories that involve putting the fans in the driver’s seat in the music industry. 

First, it was Glastonbury’s early sell out then I read this story about Public Enemy calling on fans to front money for their next album and giving fans a share of the profits.

Both stories have really made me think that maybe I wasn’t that crazy when I started to think about FANS, a concert ticket model that gives concert fans more power and leverage when going to see live music.

Take a look at SellaBand, the new business model being used by Public Enemy, and tell me what you think about creating a similar model for the live concert industry.

Fans, artists, promoters and label owners: I’d like to know what you think.

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Follow Live Fix to BlogWorld 2009



This post is a shout out to all my fellow blogging and new media buddies!  And a note to you my faithful and cherished Live Fix readers!

This Thurs-Sat (Oct 15-17), I’ll be taking Live Fix on the road to Las Vegas for the BlogWorld New Media Expo

BlogWorld will be my first “blogger conference” since I began Live Fix, so I’m excited to connect with and learn along with other bloggers. 

I’m looking forward to soaking up everything from the growing influence of mommy bloggers to the impact of social media on the music industry. Local Chicago blog network ChicagoNow will be talking about how they created their community.  And some of my favorite bloggers (Chris Brogan and Copyblogger) will also be speaking so I’ll be sure to share with you what I learn. I’ll also be writing a feature story for Popmatters about the key points during the conference as various industry leaders chime in on the state of the blogosphere, New Media and social media.

I expect it to be a huge learning experience and I hope that what I learn in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, because I plan on returning with more ideas for future Live Fix Experiments that we can test out. 

Send me your Vegas tips!

This will be my first time visiting Las Vegas, so if you’re a Vegas veteran let me know if there’s something live music related that I should check out while I’m there.

If you’re going too, please drop a comment or send me an email or a tweet.  I’d love to connect with you during the conference!

I’ll be doing updates during the BlogWorld conference via Twitter @chriscatania and Live Fix blog posts, so stay tuned…

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CHIPUBLIB Sound Off: See Who Won!




Congrats to Psalm One (Grand Prize) and Shawn Pennington (People’s Choice Award) for winning the CHIPUBLIB Sound Off Contest!

Both entries were my top picks and I’ll be looking forward to seeing them perform live on Oct 22nd at Pritzker Park.

It’s a free concert, so Chicago fans have no reason not to show up and support the Chicago Public Library and local artists.

Check out my previous post to peep Psalm One’s winning video, see what she won, and to get more info on the Chicago Public Library “Not What You Think” program.

If you were a part of the contest, or will be going to the concert, I’d love to hear your story. Drop a comment or send me an email to

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Is Glastonbury 2010 Sell Out Good For Fans?


GlastonburyI was amazed when I read these stories about Glastonbury festival 2010 selling out even before they announced who’s playing. 

Was it a promoter ploy?

Or a genuine case of fan diehard commitment?

Then I read these Billboard  and Gaurdian reports and remembered that last year’s Glastonbury festival did the same thing by selling out five months prior without many of the headliners confirmed. 

So I thought about how this would impact the and put us one step close to creating the FANS live concert model I wrote about recently. 

Putting all these stories and thoughts together, I looked at the Glastonbury 2010 early ticket sell out from a different perspective.

I looked at it as an investment by fans that could be seen as a move by fans that puts more pressure on the promoters to put on the best show possible.

Because if you think about it, by the fans putting down an early investment in the shows it forces the promoters to fill the stage with top acts.

And it just might be a step in the right direction of creating a fan-based ticket structure that puts more power in the hands and wallets of the fans.

What do you think?

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Live Music Is…



A few days ago, I posted a random update on Facebook off the top of my head and asked my friends to finish the sentence “Live music is…” with their own idea or expression. 

I already knew live music had changed my friends lives, but I wanted my friends to actually share and express themselves.

So I thought what better way than to let them have the last word.

So far, all of the responses I’ve received have really showed me how live music impacts people’s lives  in so many ways and on so many different levels.  

My friends haven spoken the power of live music in their own words and communicated it so plainly, honestly and beautifully.

Now it’s your turn. 

Join in the fun and finish the sentence in the comments below:

Live music is…

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Don’t Do This at Your Next Concert



Live Fix Experiment Results: Miike Snow &  The Tapping-On-My-Notepad Lady

These are no ordinary Live Fix Experiment results.

What I’m going to share with you is both rare and crucial to every fan’s live music experience.

It happened to me at the Miike Snow concert on Sept 25th. 

It was something that has never happened to me before.

It was something that I must share with you because the interaction I had with a fellow fan taught me a lesson that is of critical importance if we are to truly appreciate and respect the amazing diversity of our live music experiences.

During this Miike Snow concert at the Empty Bottle, I was conducting another Live Fix Experiment using Twitter, my Blackberry Storm and my Moleskine. 

I was loving the show and caught up in the wonderful throbing electronic pulse and frenzy vibe inside the Empty Bottle. 

Jumping back and forth from my Moleskine and Blackberry I was simultaneously sending out a flurry of tweets and scribbling down notes for later examination and recap. On the outside it might’ve seemed like a distraction to my enjoyment of the show, but actually it enhanced it.  Scribbling and tweeting are just a few of the ways that I enjoy the show.

And in the climax of Miike Snow’s hit anthem “Animal” a female fan reaches over and pokes me in the stomach and taps down hard on my Moleskin almost knocking it from my hand. And she says to me shaking her head and sipping her beer, “Just stop taking notes and enjoy the show.” 

Enjoy this!

Now,  let me say this first.

I appreciated the fellow fan interaction–and I always love when fans take the risk to reach out to perfect strangers at shows just for the sake of spreading the love and sharing the moment– but I have to be honest with you. I was pissed when she did that. It was really frickin’ annoying. 

But at the same time I felt sad for this confused and misguided fan.


my post tap tweet

Because she, though she probably had good intentions, had failed to see beyond her near-sighted concert enjoyment perspective. And she probably thinks that the only way to enjoy the show was in the same way she was. 

So I smiled at her and just let her speak her peace. And we went our separate ways of enjoying the rest of the show. 

But you know what? 

I regret that I didn’t have the chance to tell her that she had sadly misjudge me and my note-taking.  I’d really like the chance to ask her a few questions. Why did she do this?  Does she normally do this at concerts to other fans?  Or was this a case of chemicals lowering her inhibitions to the point where she felt comfortable telling me how I should be enjoying Miike Snow?

I’m not sure how she would have answered those questions. But I can confidently say that this particular fan was, on some level, very aware and capable. And she knew exactly what she was doing. 

Because when she tapped on my Moleskine and gave me her misguided advice, she proudly smiled at me like she was doing me some great favor of a lifetime.  Like she was some sort of  live music do-gooder  protecting the live music experience from being tarnish by note-taking-social-media-texting-tweeting freaks like me. 

But, sadly, she only rippd me right out of my zone of pleasure and flung me into a moment of annoyance and displeasure. Which, I’m sure, was actually the opposite of what she hoped to do.

This Just In:  Every Fan Has Their Own Way of Enjoying a Concert

I tell you this story because you need to know this about your fellow fans.  And I tell you this as a friendly and sincere word of caution. I tell you this because I care about you and your concert experiences. 

We all enjoy live music in different ways.  Some of us write or tweet. Some of us tap our feet and let the inner-mind do the dancing and wiggling. Some of us let loose in all directions and dance, sing or shout to abandon.  And some of us have no idea at all how to handle the social anxieties and rush of excitement that live music creates in us.

Yes, we all need to have our boundaries and comfort zones extended. But let’s not mistake a helping hand tapping on someone’s notepad for a misguiding missile destroying someone else’s enjoyment.  

Again, by all means, talk to your fellow fan, give them a fist bump during a great riff moment, toss them the devil horns when the band is killing it during your favorite song. 

Share a hearty WOOT with everyone else in the venue. Concerts are suppose to places for deep emotional connection with others. It’s why we spend our hard earn cash to see a show. 

But PLEASE don’t push another fan out of their own moment of enjoyment just because it’s not exactly what you think they should be doing.  Because when you do, you’re actually ruining the moment for them. It’s a fine line to walk. I know. 

How are you suppose to know when to say hello or interact with a fellow fan during a concert? 

Well, there are ways. 

I’ve had the pleasure of being asked what I was writing on my notepad by a fan once during a Wilco show and I found out right at that moment that when this fan looked at my notepad it was a life-changing experience for him.  I was honored to be a part of such a sacred moment for a fellow fan (I’m still amazed that my notepad scribblings can have such an impact on someone).

So when I think of how to interact with fellow fans I think of moments like that. So though it may seem hard and difficult to know when we should tap a fellow friend on the shoulder and “interrupt” their moment of pleasure.  But I know we can do it.  It really just takes what I call “common concert sense.”  I know we may not all have the same amount of “common concert sense” but I’d like to believe that we all have enough to know what to do when we see a fellow fan enjoying the show in a different way than us.

Silly actions couldn’t steal this show

Luckily, the Tapping-On-My-Notepad-Lady didn’t ruin the whole show.  It only caused a brief moment of fan-to-fan frustration that quickly passed once I moved away from the fan. And I was able to purge some of my frustration by tweeting this fan’s silly actions. 

Then I relied on Miike Snow  to take care of the rest.  And they did by putting on a great show that was a fabulous mix of terror and ecstasy.

Check out the videos below on the Live Fix YouTube Channel to see how it went. I did some experiments with light, sound and pleasure.  You’ll also see how I was part of a pre-Halloween fright rock intro.

Download Miike Snow via Miike

Where you at this Miike Snow show? 

Has a fellow fan ever ripped you from a moment of pleasure?

Photo by Colleen Catania

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